Our next guest is football writer, consultant and founder of Curva e Calcio, Chloe Beresford.
Tell us about yourself, what you currently do and how did you end up where you are right now?
I’m a football writer and consultant, and I focus exclusively on Serie A. I started writing about Fiorentina for SB Nation site Viola Nation in January 2015, then I did some historical Italian football articles for The Gentleman Ultra (quite a few of which were then featured on Guardian Sport) and then I wrote for Football Italia. This was all voluntary work until Viola Nation hired me to be their Managing Editor, Football Italia took me on as an employee to translate the Italian football news into English and I started writing regularly for The Sportsman.
I then became a full-time freelancer and have done work for Forbes, the iPaper, Tifo Football, AS Roma and lots more! I have also worked on a large project as a Serie A consultant. When the pandemic first hit, a lot of the freelance work dried up for obvious reasons and I decided to branch out on my own. I created a Substack newsletter (Curva e Calcio) which is made up of a newsletter and podcast for subscribers with the aim of giving people access to all the best news directly from the Italian papers, quality long reads on Italian football, in-depth retro podcasts and above all none of the frustrating adverts and click-bait style articles that are so common nowadays, especially when trying to keep up to date with a foreign league.
What does a normal week look like for you? I’m sure ‘Curva e Calcio’ takes up quite a lot of your time, is that the case?
It does! There’s a lot of work involved, but it’s so rewarding to create quality content that the subscribers love. I work with fellow Italian football expert Adam Digby and together we have planning, research, marketing and writing sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays, Wednesdays we record our “Serie A: 5 Things” podcast, Thursdays are a writing day and on Friday I record the “Saturday Morning Chill” pod, which is a nod back to the James Richardson Football Italia days when I round up the week’s stories from the Italian sports papers. It’s only a 30 minute podcast, but a lot of work goes into reading, translating and collating the stories through the week. Obviously, there’s also the social media account to plan and run, as well as actually watching the matches so that we know what we are talking about! Behind the scenes, we are also working with our illustrator Pennodraws to produce ebooks and merchandise which we hope to launch soon.
When did you know you wanted to work in football?
I knew from being really young. I started watching my local team, Stockport County, when I was 11 with my Dad and I soon became hooked on recording match clips from the TV, cutting bits out of the newspaper, collecting programmes and basically reading the print off them, and writing my own match reports. Remember that this was before the internet (mid-’90s) and there was only so much information out there. I consumed everything! European languages were my favourite subjects at school, so the work I’m doing now is a combination of both of my passions! I didn’t start working in football via the conventional route, but I feel very fortunate to now be following the path that I was always meant to be on.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the market for football writing freelancers?
I think that the market has bounced back a little for freelancers since everything ground to a halt when the pandemic first hit. You have to be persistent and very passionate about what you are doing, but there does seem to be work out there. I think that there will always be work in football in one way or another because so many people love the sport.
What are you excited about in the industry at the moment?
I’m excited about the rise of newsletters, like yours and mine! I think that they give readers the power to be part of something that they are funding themselves — it gives them a say in what they want to see produced by the newsletter in the future. It creates a sense of community and means that the content has no hidden agenda in terms of selling ads or purely generating clicks. You only have to look at the fact Twitter is soon going to launch a newsletter service to see that this is the future and this newsletter and Curva e Calcio have been early adopters of the trend.
What do you think are the key skills to being a successful football writer?
Tenacity, determination and ,above all, passion! I think you can see that work produced by people who write about what they are genuinely excited by stands out a mile from the rest. It’s not an easy profession by any means, and I also think a good command of English is essential. You can be as knowledgeable as you like about the game, but you need to be able to convert that into words concisely, skillfully and without making grammatical errors. I’m a bit of a stickler for it!
What general advice would you give to those individuals looking to pursue a football writing career?
Firstly, follow your passion. Find an area that you really love and don’t give up. Make sure that you are fully committed, as there is a lot of competition out there. Practice as much as you can and try to find a mentor that will help you. I have learned so much from those who were much more experienced than me at the beginning. Don’t be afraid to talk about your strengths, but do it in a way that shows you are really pursuing what you love. Sometimes, it can work to have a part-time “normal” job if you haven’t got enough freelance work to make up a full-time income. That’s what I did at first.
Where do you see your career in the future? Are there any specific objectives you hope to achieve?
I am fully committed to growing and improving Curva e Calcio and making it the best that it can be for the subscribers — the newsletter is 100% here to stay! I also want to develop e-books and merchandise as I mentioned. I would like to do more consultancy work and I’m thinking about potentially hosting some online meditation sessions as I’m a qualified practitioner and I think that it would be of great use to people after this incredibly challenging period that we’ve all been through.
And finally Chloe, where can people find you on social media and check out your work?
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